Thursday, May 2, 2013

SMG in the News: 1st Mariner Arena: Staging Some History

Originally appeared in US Business Executive, April 2013

Baltimore, Md., is nicknamed “Charm City,” but there was a time when event promoters weren’t as enamored with the historic seaport. Part of a congested corridor, overshadowed by Philadelphia to the north and Washington, D.C., to the south, Baltimore was seen as a tertiary market beginning in the late 1970s and extending throughout much of the ’80s and ’90s.
However, the management staff at the Baltimore Arena, currently known as the 1st Mariner Arena (an SMG-managed facility), knew the quality of both venue and audience that they had, and they have been wooing back the big acts successfully for well over a decade. They have been so success that in 2009 1st Mariner Area was named the No. 1 arena (10,001 – 15,000 capacity) in the United States by Billboard Magazine and Venues Today, and it has continued to rank in one of the top two spots every year since.
“Our building wasn’t designed perfectly – it’s square, it has got its quirks, and it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles – but you’re not going to beat the experience,” says Frank Remesch, general manager of 1st Mariner Arena. “It’s more intimate than the giants [Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center and Washington, D.C.'s Verizon Center], it’s clean, and we never forget the importance of customer service.”